sent the following e-mail message to joe rose last night:
i really cannot express how disappointed i was to see this blog post.
the statute clearly says that a cyclist can claim the lane if it is too narrow to share.
typical speeds downtown are about 12 mph (unless you want to make a full stop at each light), and there are usually adjacent lanes motorists could use to overtake. (and hey, if they can't overtake, then maybe the cyclist isn't actually going slower than traffic after all.)
your treatment of this subject was very sloppy, and the headline is an outrage. in case you had not noticed, a great many people are completely incapable of thinking for themselves and rely on the popular media to tell them what to believe. this places a special responsibility on journalists to do the critical analysis and lay it out there for everyone to see. instead, you add fuel to this ongoing "controversy" between cyclists and motorists. i put the word in quotes because in fact the only motorists who have a problem are those who buy in to the story (see above re "incapable of thinking").
you say you spoke with this motorist on the phone. what street was it? how many lanes in each direction? what was the speed of traffic that this cyclist was supposedly not keeping up with? was there onstreet parking? etc., etc., etc. if you asked these questions, which i doubt, the answers should have been spelled out in your blog post (see above re "lay it out there").
i call shenanigans.
p.s. on an unrelated subject. the phrase "begs the question" refers to a logical fallacy in which the conclusion you are trying to prove is assumed at the outset. the phrase you are looking for in your little aside about the $94 fines is "raises the question."